Ex-DNI chief: 'Stunning and scary' that Barr would raise spying allegation

Attorney General William P. Barr appears before a House Appropriations subcommittee on Capitol Hill

Attorney General William P. Barr appears before a House Appropriations subcommittee on Capitol Hill

US Attorney-General William Barr has sparred with politicians over whether spying occurred on President Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, and said a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference will be released soon.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr testifies before a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the proposed budget estimates for the Department of Justice in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2019.

The investigation that will reportedly be carried out by Barr's newly-formed team comes atop the existing DOJ Inspector General investigation into the origins of the counterintelligence probe, which Barr has said should be completed as early as May or June. "The question is whether it was adequately predicated".

McConnell, when asked by Bret Baier on his thoughts about the reactions to AG Barr, said that 'there was already an Inspector General at the Justice Department looking at that particular problem, that was related to the deputy of Federal Bureau of Investigation, who was dismissed...it's worth a look. "Perpetuating conspiracy theories is beneath the office of the Attorney General", Schumer tweeted. Unwilling to give up the conspiracy theory they've pushed for nearly three years, Democrats are demanding Barr release the full, unredacted Mueller report.

"Let me just say, how very, very dismaying and disappointing that the chief law enforcement officer of our country is going off the rails, yesterday and today".

Congressional Democrats fumed Wednesday over Barr's statements, accusing the attorney general of mischaracterizing the FBI's counterintelligence investigation in an effort to please Trump.

"It was started illegally", Mr Trump told reporters at the White House, without citing any evidence.

Barr modified his language, saying, "I want to make sure there was no unauthorized surveillance".

"I'm landing the plane right now", he told the Senate Appropriations Committee hearing.

"So hopefully that will happen", Trump said.

The US official told CNN that Barr's review is separate from the ongoing work being conducted by the Justice Department's internal watchdog, Inspector General Michael Horowitz, but could not detail its precise scope nor explain how the work of US Attorney John Huber, who was also tasked with investigating surveillance matters, factors in at this stage. Barr "must retract his statement immediately or produce specific evidence to back it up".

He added that he's not launching a full blown investigation into the FBI and and does not view it as a problem that is "endemic" to the FBI, but has in mind some colleagues to help him "pull all this information together, and letting me know if there are some areas that should be looked at".

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